Etiquettes of Salam (Islamic Greeting)
عن أبى هريرة رضى الله عنه قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم:" يسلّم الراكب على الماشى، والماشى على القاعد، والقليل على الكثير". رواه البخارى ومسلم
“Narrated by Abu Hurairah (R.A), the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihe Wa Sallam said: One who is riding should say Salam upon one who is walking, and one who is walking should say Salam upon one who is sitting, and a group of few people should say Salam to group of more people”.
Greeting another Muslim by saying: Assalam u Alaikum, is the most beautiful greeting in the world as it contains a prayer, a message of peace and an important Qur’anic teaching.
The Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihe Wa Sallam taught us the etiquettes of saying Salam as well. These etiquettes spread out to many aspects of greeting but the above Hadith specifically provides instructions as to who should say Salam to whom.
According to the instruction of the above Hadith, if someone is riding such as in a car, bus, train, bicycle or motorcycle then he should be the first one to say Salam to a walking person. A person who is walking should be the first one to say Salam to a sitting person. If there are two groups of people but one is smaller and the other one is larger in number then those who are small in number should be the first ones to say Salam to the larger group.
The above instructions are the etiquettes for people as to who should say Salam first. The scholars of Hadith have mentioned that if the above order was not followed at some point then there is no harm.
May Allah enable us to follow the beautiful teachings of our beloved Prophet Sallallahu Alaihe Wa Sallam.
Mufti Ikram ul Haq
Fatwa Center of America